U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Kidney Disease

KidneysNormal, healthy kidneys filter about 200 quarts of blood each day, generating about 2 quarts of excess fluid, salts, and waste products that are excreted as urine. Loss of function of these organs, even for a short period of time or due to gradual deterioration, can result in life-threatening complications. Whether kidney function is lost suddenly or slowly represents an important health challenge.

The NIDDK supports basic and clinical research on kidney development and disease, including the causes of kidney disease; the underlying mechanisms leading to progression of kidney disease; and the identification and testing of possible treatments to prevent development or halt progression of kidney disease. Also of interest are studies of inherited diseases such as polycystic kidney disease, congenital kidney disorders, and immune-related kidney diseases such as IgA nephropathy and hemolytic uremic syndrome.

It has been estimated that more than 20 million American adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD has two main causes: high blood pressure and diabetes. CKD, especially if undetected, can progress to irreversible kidney failure. People with kidney failure require dialysis or a kidney transplant to live. Minority populations, particularly African Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, and American Indians and Alaska Natives, bear a disproportionate burden of CKD and kidney failure.

The NIDDK’s National Kidney Disease Education Program is designed to raise awareness about the problem of kidney disease and steps that should be taken to prevent kidney disease, treat CKD and prevent kidney failure. NKDEP conducts educational outreach to patients, physicians, and the public.

The NIDDK’s National Kidney Disease Information Clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys to people with kidney disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The Clearinghouse provides online resources, publications, and answers inquiries by phone and email.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Conduct Research

NIDDK investigators conduct biomedical research and training in the Institute's laboratories and clinical facilities in Maryland and Arizona.

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